At AOL, we strive to introduce features that enhance the value of the Internet for people with disabilities. This goes hand in hand with continuous efforts to address product compatibility with assistive technologies like screen reader software, alternative keyboard devices and high contrast display products.
AOL’s Accessibility Policy
We’re committed to developing products and services that are accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. Our accessibility policy is founded on three fundamental principles:
It is essential for employees to be informed about the challenges people with disabilities often face when accessing the Internet, as well as the technologies available to improve their experiences. This awareness fosters the ability to address accessibility throughout the product development life cycle.
The following practices are used to heighten employee awareness of accessibility issues:
- Providing employees access to assistive technology software widely used by internet users with disabilities, encouraging its use and reference during product development.
- Offering regular employee training on best practices for accessible experiences, as well as common pitfalls to avoid.
- Scanning all AOL web products for basic accessibility issues, with reports emailed to product managers and developers. These reports include ranked lists of issues to work into the next development cycle.
Solutions developed to accommodate a broad range of user needs translate into a richer online experience for all users. AOL maintains a dedicated Office of Accessibility to oversee responsibilities such as:
- Providing support to product and service groups during all stages of design and delivery.
- Participating in external initiatives involving industry experts, and accessibility researchers to help advance the adoption of best practices and techniques in web and software accessibility.
- Defining product accessibility requirements.
- Monitoring AOL's application of this Accessibility Policy to its products and services.
Feedback from the disability community is a critical component of our accessibility efforts. AOL engages the disability community through the following practices:
- Using consultants with disabilities to test products with assistive technology software and to guide improvements.
- Maintaining a dedicated e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) to receive input on accessibility issues.
- Supporting and participating in national and international disability-focused initiatives.
Mobile Apps and Accessible WebMail
As mobile devices gain accessibility, AOL continues to expand our apps to reach a wider community. The AIM and AOL mobile apps are compatible with Voiceover on iOS and TalkBack on Android devices, with accessibility expanding to more apps over time.
Accessible WebMail offers mail and calendar services with more efficient web navigation through screen reader software. It also offers a comprehensive set of keyboard shortcuts that mirror those found in popular email client applications. To surface keyboard shortcuts, log into your AOL account at mail.aol.com and select the "Accessible Version" link from the Options menu at the top right of the page.